My doctor thinks I have diabetes, so a few weeks ago he asked me to keep track of my blood sugar. Several dozen little holes in my fingertips later and I’m pretty sure he’s right because normal is in the 5 mmol/L range, and I haven’t been below 16.4 since I started. I’ve actually gone off the scale twice… at 33.3 mmol/L the guidebook tells you to “obtain and follow instructions from your healthcare professional without delay.”
I’m seeing my “healthcare professional” on the 23rd. Right now my desk is littered with little bloodied test strips… I couldn’t get the stabbing machine to work properly, it won’t go deep enough so I’ve just been stabbing myself with the lancet.
My finger tips look like I poked them repeatedly with a pen, there are little black dots everywhere.
For a lot of reasons I feel like I’m starting a new phase of my recovery. About this time last year I actually did start a new phase, so I figured it made sense to take a look at some of the things I’ve learned and learned to do…
Like pay my bills. Phone, electricity, cable, gas are all at zero. Until a few months ago I was always riding the Final Notice, always paying off the bare minimum or handing off post-dated cheques. But since just after Christmas I’ve been slowly paying them down until they’re all gone.
The main reason why they’re paid off is because I finally asked my bank teller to set up my account so I could pay my bills at the ATM. This was something I had been wanting to ask her about for the past two years, but never got around to it.
My teeth situation has finally levelled off… after filling a small hole in one tooth no new cavities were found during my last appointment. I think it might have something to do with me learning how to floss properly.
All of these lesson I was supposed to have learned as a child… I can remember my mother bringing me to a bank so I could set up a savings account. But then I never went back. A letter from the bank was forwarded to me four years ago, just a few months after I moved back home. It was a reminder that the account was still active… I think it was just over $20.
I’m eating healthy again. Last spring and summer I was eating a fairly strict diet of 1% milk, fruit, whole wheat bagels and fish. In the fall I got into a funk and pretty much stayed there until March, so my diet reverted back to take-out and convenience store crap. Since April I’ve been walking to and from the grocery store almost everyday, it’s roughly a two mile round trip and I bring one canvass bag so I can only get so much.
Right now my diet consists of unprocessed fish, chicken, bacon, eggs, honey, whole wheat bread, apples, bananas and large salads (fresh tomatoes, radishes, mushrooms) with some tuna or salmon. The biggest change in my diet is I’ve totally cut out all pop. I’ve been drinking Club Soda with some orange juice for flavour. Dee-freaking-licious.
Which makes this diabetes thing so fucking frustrating. It has only been the past two, maybe three years since my brain has been clear enough to acknowledge the need for a cleaner diet. All of those untreated years it was like my brain was just locked and unable to think around problems… like diet and banking and paying bills and flossing and not being a fucking idiot.
When I did my first test I thought the machine must’ve been fucked. It was 19.8, then a few hours later it was 24.8 and at bedtime it was 30.5 which is right around the number the booklet suggests I should call my “healthcare provider”. That’s pretty much been the result everyday for the past month.
I have to say this past year turned out pretty… stupid. My recovery has progressed, I am a thousand times better than I was last year at this time. Each year I’ve been in recovery, talking to a psychiatrist and taking the medications, I’ve improved. Without a doubt.
But I’m still as isolated as I was before I started my recovery. I started dating again, but she was the one who initiated contact and it was her who decided it was over four months later. I wasn’t moving fast enough.
My apartment’s a mess, just like it was last year and the year before that and the year before that… but I have new furniture. I bought a new bookcase a couple of months ago, I finally got around to constructing it a few days ago and now I realize I don’t have enough crap for the shelves. And I finally fixed my couch so there’s no steel hump in the middle.
My photography has improved a lot over the past year. I’ve taken a few thousand photos with my pocket digital, and I finally got around to printing a bunch of them off so now I have a wall full of photos. I started a photo blog in… September, but I haven’t updated it since March.
My sleeping patterns over the past year have gotten much better. The Seroquel has been giving me fantastic sleep since I first started taking it four years ago. But since this past summer I’ve stopped staying up around the clock, so instead of having at least one 24-hour day per week I might have had three in the past six months.
Which, again, is frustrating… I’ve lived my entire adult life until now making one day out of three.
There was a study done not too long ago where researchers looked at the effects of sleep deprivation. They took healthy students, basically in their twenties, and over six days they were only allowed four hours of sleep per night. Their sleep was also interrupted whenever they started to fall into the deep, healing sleep phase.
After only four days of this they were exhibiting the signs of diabetes. Their bodies couldn’t metabolize sugar… after four days a dude of 25 had the metabolism of someone in their fifties. The researchers concluded that unless we get a full sleep cycle of eight hours we’re putting ourselves at a much higher risk for obesity, stroke and heart disease.
Considering the toll clinical and manic depression takes on the body, heart and mind through sleep deprivation it seems everything I’ve done over the past nineteen years has the consequence of taking additional years off my life.
It’s not just the disease I have to clean up after. I knew about the clinical depressions waiting for me once the manic depression was out of the way. I knew there were some physical prices to pay… I have an extra forty pounds sitting between me and this keyboard.
But I thought I could clear those physical problems up by eating better, not drinking and quitting smoking.
So this is what I know after another year in recovery… fighting the disease comes first. But then there’s the neglected clinical depressions and the neglected body. The clinical depressions can be talked into submission with a decent psychiatrist, but the neglected body needs more than better food and not drinking and/or smoking. It needs blood tests and visits to a General Practitioner every three months, and visits to a dentist.
We need sleep and we need to walk outside and to find some structure… but we need to have our thyroid checked, our urine tested and our lithium levels, and our cholesterol and our blood sugar.
I don’t know if this is a Gen X thing, or a growing up without a father thing, or a manic depressive thing, or a combination of all three and more… but the sheer ignorance with which I’ve lived my life is almost overwhelming.